Burning Hair Doesn’t Stop Hairball’s “Paul Stanley” From Playing
Hairball guitarist and singer Bobby Jensen didn't let a little thing like having his head nearly consumed by flames stop him from rocking this weekend.
As you can in the video below, a spark hits Jensen (who was performing in full Paul Stanley costume and makeup) just as the band starts playing "Detroit Rock City" by Kiss. The fire quickly and dangerously moves across his hair and over his head, as a bandmate attempts to douse the flames, then signals for help. Two members of the stage crew quickly extinguish the fire - and Jensen doesn't miss a single chord or lyric throughout the entire ordeal.
"I live an Evil Knievel kind of life, so if I'm on fire a little bit, I don't care, that's just part of the fun," Jensen explained during a quick phone call with Ultimate Classic Rock. "I knew I was on fire right away, and that wasn't a wig, that's my hair. It was really nice and foofy before the show, now I have a much better Alice Cooper cut."
Despite a previous stint in Kiss tribute band Strutter, and 15 years in Hairball, Jensen says nothing like this has happened to him before. "But we always prepare for it. That's why you didn't see me freak out. I have 100% faith in my guys that they'll get to me and put me out. So I just thought, 'I'll sing to everybody while I'm on fire.'"
The video has apparently already made its way to the real "hottest band in the land," who promptly reached out to make sure Jensen was OK. "My friends in Kiss got a hold of me already, and asked me if I was alright. They saw the video, they said 'hey are you OK? F--- man, you just stood there and kept on singing." Like I said, our guys are pros, we're around the pyro all the time. It's not anything that I'm really fazed by. It got a little warm on my head, and some of it's burned off, but it still doesn't look bad. We're OK and the fire marshall was cool, and we're all licensed and insured and everything's done properly."
It seems the only thing he's got to worry about now is a possible "burning hair" gimmick infringement lawsuit from Gene Simmons, who first accidentally set his own mane on fire at an early Kiss show on New Year's Eve of 1973. In a 1999 online chat, the God of Thunder estimated his hair had caught fire "six or seven times" while performing his on-stage fire-breathing stunt over the years.
Hairball, who bill themselves as "a bombastic celebration of arena rock," have been performing together for nearly two decades now. Kiss is only one of the bands they pay tribute to at each show, as "the stage becomes an entirely new rock concert before your very eyes countless times throughout the night" while they perform classic hits from artists such as Van Halen, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey and Aerosmith.
"Everything changes within like two songs. We'll do a couple of Kiss songs, and then I bail and the other singer comes out as David Lee Roth and does a couple of Van Halen songs." Jensen explains. "Then we'll come out as Journey, and it rotates like that all night, to Bon Jovi, to Alice Cooper.. all kinds of craziness for every character. And everybody that we impersonate has played with us. We've played with Kiss onstage, and Alice Cooper and Dee Snider. Vince Neil's played with us many times. It's fun, because all the guys that we impersonate love us. That's a good feeling to know that we're doing it right and honoring it right."
Hairball will hit the stage again Feb. 15 in Enid, Oklahoma. You can find out when they're coming to your town at their official website.
Corrections: Due to an e-mail misunderstanding, the first version of this story incorrectly identified Michael "Happy" Schneider as Hairball's "Paul Stanley." Also as we corrected above, that was Jensen's real hair, not a wig, which caught fire.
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